Why You Do What You Do
David Patt over on the Association Executive Management blog recently attended a session for CEOs about employee engagement, and one of the CEOs asked the following question:
Why it is OK to leave the office early for a family dinner but not for an acting class? Neither has value to the association but both have value to the respective employees.
Good question. How much do you think about what your employees value? Do you make judgments about the "appropriateness" of what they value? How does that serve you or the organization?
And the broader question is, why do you do anything that you do as a leader or as an organization. It is fine for you to say that your organization will support family over personal interests of the employee, but you have to say it. You have to actually be clear about what is important and what isn’t. Why some people get to leave early and others don’t. Why people sit where they do.
Part of the evolution of the workplace is the importance of meaning. People won’t do things "just because" as much as they used to. The "why" is critical to employee engagement. I don’t know it’s so much about having the "right" answers to the why questions as much as it is having (and saying out loud) the answers in the first place.